Reported.ly aims to keep going after losing First Look support

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The social-media news network reported.ly is looking to acquire rights from its parent company and continue in a new partnership, founder and Editor-in-Chief Andy Carvin said Saturday during a discussion at the Online News Association in Denver.

Reported.ly suspended operations Aug. 31 after owner First Look Media ended its support. “I think they’d be happy to see us go somewhere else,” said Carvin, who launched reported.ly in December 2014 after seven years at NPR.

During the ONA session, members of the international social-first team told the audience how they used social media to source, verify and distribute their reporting. They said they saw Twitter as their primary work space and aimed to serve the social community. Reported.ly also sought to identify emerging stories, often cultivating sources in parts of the world that later become focal points.

Carvin said he is talking with newsrooms, news nonprofits, funders and universities about reviving reported.ly while maintaining its values but perhaps with a different approach. The team is toying with the idea of working with a university where part of its work would include training students in social reporting.

“A lot of people care about what we do, but very few people know how to do it,” Carvin said.

Potential partners would need to understand the organization’s approach to international reporting and its commitment to coverage of human rights and social justice, he said.

Half of reported.ly’s staff came from noncommercial radio, and they said they infused the spirit of public media into their work.

“It’s the closest medium to what we do now,” said Marina Petrillo, who previously worked for an independent radio network in Italy. The scale, platform and challenges differed, but “the principle is the same,” she said. Like community-service media, reported.ly’s staff was committed to sticking with stories for the long haul.

“I think we did great work,” said P. Kim Bui, reported.ly’s deputy managing editor and an alum of KPCC in Southern California. “I don’t think editorially anything went wrong.”

Bui wrote for First Draft News about lessons learned from reported.ly.